My earliest solo travel memories was traveling from Laguna to Manila every school day at 11 years old. I woke up at 4am, then walk (yes, walk) 2 kilometers to the bus station, and hope to not be late for the flag ceremony at 6:30am.
Eventually, the bus conductor knew me already as a regular passenger, then he gave me ticket passes so I don’t have to pay the bus fare. He also told me to scold my mom. I’m sure my mom wants what is best for me coz I still did piano and ballet lessons during weekends. My mom taught me how to mingle with different kinds of caste err I mean classes of society in this country early.
So my early years mould me to be independent while on the road. It paved way to me traveling solo to almost all countries I’ve been. And you know what? It was real adventure.
For those who wants to travel alone for various reasons, you may want to start with traveling to nearby places. If you live in a city, try to travel to nearby provinces, eat local delicacies, go to local tourists spots. Embrace solitude like a new found freedom.
Then start venturing further, go to places with different dialects, different cultures and tradition. You shouldn’t be paranoid if you can’t speak the local language, usually local people are kind and adjust to you if you are kind enough to them too. But to be honest, sometimes local people can intimidate too. Example, if you speak tagalog in Cebu, locals usually will talk back in English. If you get intimidated, speak to another person instead.
If you’re from the province and want to explore the city, it may take a while to get used to traveling in the busy places.. I suggest go there with a companion first, then try to return on your own. With lots of activities that can get you busy in the city, I’m sure you won’t really mind being alone.
Once you’re at ease, then traveling out of the country will be a breeze already.
My first international solo travel was in Singapore where I left my friends in the hotel to travel and visit an organization, then I traveled around the lion city afterwards. Then I went to solo traveling in most countries that I lived or visited.
Traveling solo has its perks alright. You don’t have to wait for someone if you want to go somewhere else. You don’t have to share decisions. You can go to any tourist spot without asking for someone to go with you. You can go on a shopping spree all day and no one will be impatiently waiting at the hotel’s lobby. You can do food trips without having to share your food.
As long as you have the budget, you can do what you want. That alone makes me highly recommend traveling solo to anyone.
For most culture, a single asian female traveling deviates from the tradition. Since I understand a bit of Thai language and since Laos language is similar to Passa Thai, I often hear this – Khun Diaw.
This means – only you or you’re alone.
It helps that you have a support system online. Someone you can go to just in case you are in trouble. When I was traveling solo, I make sure my family know where I am.
Also, it helps if you travel light and simple so you don’t attract unnecessary negativities. It’s great that I haven’t experienced being kidnapped, or having my wallet stolen while on the road. Maybe because scammers never thought of me as a potential victim… Dear (legal and illegal) scammers in all forms, i have nothing to declare.
But just in case this happens to you, please make sure you know self defense or carry a self defense tool like a pepper spray.
I was not a victim to such scams but our house back home got robbed while I was traveling though, so that’s the reason I’m careful when posting online. It’s better to be humble than to motivate someone to do bad things to you.
Aside from being a potential victim to scammers since you’re traveling alone, there’s also a possibility that you get sick while traveling, and you’re alone. Make sure the food you eat is clean, go to restaurants where there are lots of locals coz usually travelers get sick of diarrhea. And just in case you still get sick, make sure you have an insurance.
I’d still highly recommend solo travel. You will never experience another level of freedom unless you go trek this lifestyle path.
Where to travel solo? That’s another story.